See http://www.topwalks.com/tgoc2011.html Day 6 for map of planned route - we took an easier option. Again! Again!!
Distance: 27km (Cum 130) [Mike 27 - Cum 122]
Ascent: 840 metres (Cum 5515) [Mike 840 - Cum 4595]
Time taken: 8.2hrs including 1.4hrs stops
Weather: wet morning, wet windy and squally afternoon, wet evening
Challengers encountered: Stefan Latzel, Bob Tucker, Pete Lee, Dave Handley, Markus and Silke Petter, Barbara Saunders and Peter Kenyon
Others not encountered: Mike Knipe, the Pie Man, was apparently nearby operating a microcafè from a small blue tent with (allegedly) holes in it, but we didn't see him
Flora and Fauna: lots of small white flowers (pictured)
Best bit: meeting up with Markus and Silke
Worst bit: the weather
Mike and I 'don't do bothies'. Nor do Markus and Silke, nor do various others who passed by this place this afternoon in atrocious weather with no sheltered camping spots. So here we are, holed up in Culra bothy with the rain still lashing down outside. Mike and I have quite a smart room that we are sharing with Markus, Silke and Stefan. We are having an early night. All those seen apart from Bob, who was heading south west from Benalder Cottage, are here in one room or another.
The day started well with an excellent breakfast on a fine morning. Unfortunately, about 50 metres after setting off, the rain came and waterproofs were deployed for the rest of the day.
After an hour or so we caught up with Stefan, who has carried his supplies for the whole trip from Oban, starting with 24 kilos. He's tough, and after Benalder Cottage he went over a Munro, Beinn Bheoil, taking the short route to Culra. But he should be calling TGO Control from Dalwhinnie tonight, so is presumably 'missing'.
Stefan reports that the wind on the Munro was worse than the wind he experienced at the North Cape, perhaps justifying my marginal decision to bale out of an 8km ridge walk. That wouldn't have been pleasant.
Bob Tucker had only seen two Challengers all trip before bumping into us. He showed me his route. I don't think he'll be seeing many more!
The path between Benalder Cottage and Culra is superb, but that between the end of Loch Ericht and the Cottage seems to be in the process of being made into a road and is ankle deep in a sandy slurry in places.
Pete and Dave were very jolly when we met them on their way down to Culra, with Dave on chefing duties and producing a tasty looking soup.
We could see a very shallow rainbow in the east for ages, but even when the sun was shining on the bothy it seemed to continue to rain.
Two bedraggled cyclists arrived with fresh food to cook, but the Challengers had long since consumed their dehydrated meals and were ready for a long sleep.
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